Technology Certainly has Changed in Our Lifetimes!

In the 1940s, the world’s first general-purpose digital computer, the ENIAC, was tasked with calculations for creating the hydrogen bomb. Awe-inspiring stuff in its day…but at 27 tons, the ENIAC needed its own room, preferably its own building, to fulfill its mission.

Today, the computer/cell phone I carry in my pocket has thousands of times more power than did the ENIAC.


Your cell phone is many times more powerful and has many times more memory than the largest IBM mainframes of the 1960s and 70s. Plus you can make phone calls with it…


Curtiss Wright built an analog Flight simulator for the KC-97 in flight refueling tanker air plane. Probably built in the late 50’s. I maintained one in the 60’s. Lots of vacuum tubes, before solid state design was popular. One cabinet for each engine, and the other cabinets for flight controls instrumentation etc. Took a monstrous power supple to support all those vacuum tubes which gave off a tremendous amount of heat. It was in a room by itself and we had a 25 ton air conditioner to keep the room cool when it was running. We thought it was pretty neat at the time but I have been in a modern simulator and they are amazing.


My sophomore year at Gorham State Teachers’ College (now the University of Southern Maine”, the commuter lounge was taken over by the college’s computer (note use of singular here). Before the computer, grades and GPAs were processed by hand, and were available to students within a week. WITH the computer spring grades weren’t available until after classes started in the fall and thus some students who had “flunked out” were able to stay.
When I retired from teaching 41 years later, parents had access to every grade for every assignment as soon as those were entered, and all 600 students in our school had laptops.
Talk about change!


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